By Chris Ryndak
Don Draper might as well be a modern-day journalist.
The Emmy-winning drama “Mad Men,” which centers on the inner workings of a Manhattan advertising agency in the 1960s, showcases how Americans changed during that time period. One running subplot deals with the introduction of the television into — and out of — the American home.
Draper’s been around the block a few times at Sterling-Cooper and the old ad men like him are relatively uncertain of what effect TV will have on their industry. Only a few have the foresight to see the vast potential of television advertising, but these ad execs aren’t taken very seriously early on.
On our class field trip to the Buffalo News last week, the introductory video stressed the point that the publication was on the cutting edge when it came to utilizing the new mediums of radio and television. The Buffalo Evening News was responsible for founding what are now WBEN-AM and WIVB-TV, both staples of today’s local media.
For supposed pioneers of the industry, the News, like so many other newspapers around the country, has struggled in embracing the new digital revolution that is upon us. It was only this summer that readers were given the opportunity to comment on stories on the News’ Web site — and it is a Web site that still leaves much to be desired.
How is it that print media has fallen so far behind the eight ball when it comes to the Internet?
As “Mad Men” demonstrates, staring new technology in the face and not understanding how to use it has been an age-old problem. Once television was recognized as a revenue juggernaut, the TV guys found themselves climbing the corporate ladder quickly while those stuck in their ways found themselves going the way of the dinosaur.
Surely there are some minds within the world of journalism that might have a solution to the whole “how do we make money off of free publishing?” dilemma the industry currently faces. Maybe those stuck in their ways, the ones who hold the power, will finally listen to these young minds.
Only time will tell.